In my last post, I was feeling a little bummed about not being able to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon on this trip. While I still one day want to come back and do it, we did find other alternatives to explore and enjoy the park. Let’s get into it!
Our next venture was to hike part of the Bright Angel Trail. If you have been following along, you know the concern is just doing too much too fast. We had Covid just a couple weeks prior and still have the cough which we have seen gets worse with exertion. The path is graded, but it’s all downhill and the park warns every way that it can that going down is the easy part. It takes roughly twice as long coming back up. We loosely said we would go to the first rest point which is about 1.5 miles down, but we decided that we were satisfied at 1.1 miles down. The view wasn’t going to change much in .4 of a mile and we didn’t know how we’d feel going back up.
Just getting that far down into the canyon, it was mesmerizing because you can get a perspective of how much the walls tower over you and how beautiful it is from so many different perspectives. Even the climb up revealed different beauty than what we looked at on the way down. We didn’t struggle at all coming back up. We took our cues from the mules – short steps, slow and steady wins the race.
When we finished the hike, it was about an hour and a half from sunset. The Bright Angel Trail is in the same place the shuttle leaves to go out hermit road. You can bike or walk hermit road but they don’t let the public drive vehicles on it. It makes sense – there are nine overlooks and by making folks shuttle it keeps the road unclogged and allows the park to keep the space natural rather than cluttering it up with parking lots. I was surprised how much each overlook had a unique view of the canyon. You can get out at any of the stops as the next shuttle will be by in about 15 minutes.
We elected to watch the sunset from Hopi Point, sharing the experience with some folks from England who were taking a two week tour of the US by way of route 66. They were young – probably the age of our oldest kids- and I just enjoyed their humor and energy.
We decided that we would splurge and do one of the helicopter tours later in the week. It was a great way to include some of the North Rim in our visit. Driving to the North Rim from the South takes approximately 4 hours by car. We were happy to see a huge herd of buffalo on one of the plains there! The South Rim doesn’t have buffalo, but we did see elk and wild horses on that side just driving through the park.
The pilot pointed out different points in the canyon that have names based on what it looks like – a fish, a dragon, an electric guitar, and so forth. We could see the big rapids in the Colorado River, and couldn’t believe how the little Colorado was the color of the Caribbean Ocean. Truly a spectacular experience.
We returned to Williams kind of pumped, so we decided to go to town and find a place to eat dinner with live music. We selected the Long Horn Saloon, as you can sit in the open courtyard and enjoy the band and people dancing. Food wasn’t great, I will be honest. Go for the music, the friendly and hardworking wait staff, the fun vibe and comradery – but eat somewhere else. Oh and bring a dollar bill to write a message on to stick to the wall! The courtyard is set up like an old country western town and we enjoyed the kitschy humor.
The next day we arrived in Page, Arizona, and man is it hot here! 100 or more degrees each day. We like to follow mild weather but made an exception for a couple places on our way to Colorado. One of the main reasons we didn’t want to cut this part of the trip was Antelope Canyon, as it’s always mesmerizing in photographs.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on Navajo reservation land so you have to visit with a tour. They are very strict about mask usage as they have lost roughly 25 percent of their population to Covid. I have to say I was a bit disenchanted with the overall experience, and that’s probably an unpopular opinion. Don’t get me wrong, the slot canyon is gorgeous and I am happy to have seen it. However, there are tons of groups going through the tour, and it’s basically a photography opportunity as they herd the small groups through. It’s essentially standing in line to take pictures. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from the experience – certainly if you are here go – but just know it’s a ride at Disneyland kind of thing. I just hadn’t envisioned it that way.
We then went to the Horseshoe Canyon Overlook. It’s about a 15 minute walk out to the view and it was even prettier than pictures I had seen and so much larger than I had anticipated. Photographs just can’t relay the scale and size – but that white dot on the right hand side is a fairly nice-sized speed boat.
We are staying right on Lake Powell near the Glen Canyon Dam and Wahweap Marina. It’s beautiful even if the water is low. Ed wanted to do a tour of the Dam, but they have suspended those during Covid. The visitor center is open Thursday through Sunday each week. It’s the second largest dam in America, Hoover Dam being the first.
The drive from our campgrounds into Page has scenery that changes depending on what the sun is currently dancing on. The stark contrast of the orange/pink land with vegetation in colors from turquoise to bright green is the quintessential southwestern color pallet. I could look at it for hours.
We have some crazy high winds as we end our week here, but it was a good opportunity for us to work on our business. I finally got our webpage fixed after a long sequence of technical hoops. We have been in the midst of selling one of our investment properties and making some preparations towards a big goal we have set. I have been up to my armpits in paperwork, but for me I like the contrast of how all our days are different.
We are headed to Zion National Park next, with plans of meeting up with a good friend and her husband for dinner. I am looking forward to that as I miss all our people so it’s special when those opportunities arise. Ed wants us to enter the lottery for Angel’s Landing, I am not so sure…I have gotten better with heights but not THAT better.